Lotus Elan

How does No Mot effect my Elan Insurance?

PostPost by: atthelimit » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:12 am

The no Mot rule for cars 40+ years old in the UK means that many "classic" Loti such as Elites, Elans, Europas, +2s and some early gen 3 cars, Esprits and Excel/Eclats now fall into this group.

An MOT is only ever a snapshot in time, a look at the car on one day, it does not make it roadworthy over the whole year! It's a myth that if your car has no MOT, insurers will not pay out, a car without an MOT is perfectly capable of being roadworthy and within the scope of the policy. It's for this reason that all motor insurance policies whether classic or modern have a clause in them which roughly states, "the vehicle must be maintained in a road worthy condition at all times" This has always been the case with or without the new MOT ruling. It's this statement insurers rely on to determine whether or not the cover is valid, and going forward, without MOTs, they will rely on it more heavily.

What does this really mean? If you run into the back of the car in front because you have bald tyres leaking brakes, insurers could well refuse a claim and void the policy. Not only could you lose your own car, but you would be responsible for the claim costs of the other party as well. I’m sure you understand the thinking here; no MOT requirement is no excuse for poor maintenance and should not be seen as a way to run cars with no regard for safety. With bald tyres and bad brakes it would be hard to argue you were not aware, a feathering on an inside edge is one thing, running on slicks is another!

It's said that "classic car people" always maintain their cars well, as a generalisation this might be correct but there are always a few who will take liberties with the new rules. An MOT test forced people to address niggling faults like a bulb gone, wiper blades and to look at tyres etc. Not all enthusiasts are no mechanical experts and so inevitably some defect might be missed, an MOT highlighted things that you would not easily spot, corroding brake pipes, a split rubber gaiter, play in bushes etc. The fear is that over time several niggling faults will build up leaving the vehicle in a poor state. Perhaps an MOT every two or even three years might have been more sensible?

As the 40-year rolling requirement moves on, the type of car that falls into this band will become a very useable everyday car. They will have 5 speed gearboxes, power steering, electric windows, etc,and a performance that allows them to be viable daily transport. This is where non-enthusiast may lurk, buying old bangers which won't be cherished but used to get to work each day with no MOT, cheap classic insurance, no tax and with little or no maintenance.

Whilst insurance has a bad press I can assure you insurers are not looking to refuse claims without good cause. Keeping bills and receipts for parts or work done helps your situation no end and in the event of a claim.

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:25 am

I daresay there will be some MOT exempt cars that will be driven like that. Maybe even a few that end up like this report from last year - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-44819316 although, to be fair, that wasn't an exempt car.

I wonder if the breakdown services have noticed an increase in the number of old vehicles needing roadside repairs / recovery. I don't suppose the government is too bothered about how reliable these things are as long as the breakdown doesn't cause third party damage. If you grind to a halt and spend the next 12hrs waiting for a tow rope that's not causing anyone else any problems (unless it's the Triumph Stag that broke down in the M23 roadworks last summer causing a 10 mile tailback.)

I suspect there's probably some database in a government dungeon somewhere that's keeping track of how the accident rate for now MOT exempt cars is changing. If it's growing or the media get some kind of 'ancient deathtraps are mowing down our children, something must be done' bee in their bonnet then maybe they'll be forced to revisit it but so far most of the over 40's at the outdoor shows I went to last year seem to have made it there under their own steam. Many of the people driving them seemed to be of an age where statistically they're about the safest on the road so maybe there's some kind of 'compensation' going on (brakes don't work too well, I'll just go slow).

Our UK MOT does seem to be one of the more exacting ones. I know you can always argue what price safety but I've seem (in the US in particular) cars legally on the road that would be too far gone for even the scrap yards over here to be interested. I wonder how their mechanical failure accident rates (as opposed to drunk / aggressive / putting makeup on accident causes) compare. My US 2002 Honda motorcycle currently residing in New Jersey has never needed a mechanical check. I'm told it's because the motorcycle mechanical failure accident rate is low enough not to cause any concern.

On the other hand some of the cars they pull out of sheds for Car SOS .....
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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:10 pm

As the OP said, in the UK your insurance is dependant on you keeping the car roadworthy - and if it isn't then your insurance will be invalid and you could be prosecuted. Nothing has changed since the requirement for an MOT test was dropped; it's still your responsibility to maintain the car in a roadworthy state. And the MOT test was pretty rudimentary. Testers were not allowed to poke or prod the car, so any rust in the subframe's front turrets or cross member would likely be missed unless it was really bad. Probably the only useful bits were the general testing of suspension bushes and steering for wear, a general shuftey at the underside and testing the brakes - all of which a mechanically literate owner could do anyway, and all of which should have symptoms that a mechanically sympathetic owner would notice before they got bad. Any owner should check things before a drive and give the car a once over every month or so which will pick up most if not all issues. And at the end of the day any non-mechanical owner can still take their car in to a garage for a check over. Irresponsible owners will always be around and will always run cars which are unsafe - but I doubt that there are many irresponsible Lotus Elan owners. I for one am pleased that the government was happy to put its trust in owners to be responsible about their cars.
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PostPost by: derek uk » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:16 am

Even if your car is exempt, there is nothing to stop you having an MOT done. It can still be recorded on the DVLA database as before. You can obviously have the same inspection done by your garage and not have it recorded on the computer. The results from both will tell you if there any problems. But, if it's important to you, having an MOT paper trail as part of the cars history, would I'm sure, be useful to have in the event that you have to sell it. As a buyer, it would give me a bit more confidence in the car, and as a seller I'd have that confidence too. The result could well be a higher transaction price. A modern car up for sale with no MOT is always buyer beware, but having a failure sheet at least gives you an idea what you are looking at.
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:48 pm

We had this discussion about whether to take advantage of the government's largesse and drive MOT free or whether an independent check was a sensible safety precaution last year. As you say we're all free to head for the MOT bay and continue to have the car tested - and, of course, potentially failed.

I don't think we ever did sort out what happens at that point. Are you off the road until it's fixed, retested and passed or can you say, 'yeah, yeah, I'll get round to it' and drive off.

I wonder what the first time pass rate for our cars is? If you take it along after a multi year, multi thousand pound complete restoration you'd expect a straight pass but prior to last year, unless you had access to private land, there wasn't much opportunity for any legal 'fettling' road time. Cars that are used regularly will have bits that are wearing out at different rates and it's easy to adjust to something that, in the cold light of the testers eye, falls below the standard needed. I suppose if we had a pass rate poll here it would be the first time passers who'd be populating it. Those needing multiple attempts would probably prefer to keep it to themselves.
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:36 am

69S4 wrote:We had this discussion about whether to take advantage of the government's largesse and drive MOT free or whether an independent check was a sensible safety precaution last year. As you say we're all free to head for the MOT bay and continue to have the car tested - and, of course, potentially failed.

I don't think we ever did sort out what happens at that point. Are you off the road until it's fixed, retested and passed or can you say, 'yeah, yeah, I'll get round to it' and drive off.

I wonder what the first time pass rate for our cars is?


As a partial answer to the second point, there are a few places that list cars and pass rates. For example

https://good-garage-guide.honestjohn.co.uk/mot-test-results/#mot-manufacturer-macro

or if you just want the Elan

https://classics.honestjohn.co.uk/mot/lotus/elan

Which comes out at 80% in 2016 data, 37% better than other pre-1990 cars from the page.

As for the first point on "are we ok if we fail because we didn't need it anyway ?" I'd expect any insurance company to take a very dim view of someone failing an MoT and then continuing to use it in the same state. Driving home to get it fixed is one thing but I'd expect to lose if I tried the argument a month later.

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PostPost by: ericbushby » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:09 am

I thought that if a car fails an MOT test it is unroadworthy and you are given a time to repair and retest.
If the car is dangerous then it must not be driven at all.
This is recorded at the DVLA and is available to traffic police.
That does not change just because the test is voluntary.
It is different if you just get a mechanic to check it over without an official MOT test.
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:46 pm

ericbushby wrote:I thought that if a car fails an MOT test it is unroadworthy and you are given a time to repair and retest.
If the car is dangerous then it must not be driven at all.
This is recorded at the DVLA and is available to traffic police.
That does not change just because the test is voluntary.

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That would have been my guess (but I've not seen it written anywhere) that if you've subjected yourself (or your car anyway) to the 'system' you're bound by its rules. So a failure this morning because the washer nozzles are frozen would have you off the road until its been formally retested on a warmer day. Probably just as well with the amount of salt on the roads atm.
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PostPost by: Elseezed » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:11 pm

Took mine last week for it's MOT even though I only do 900 miles annually. For me it's peace of mind. It also records annual mileage for those with limited mileage insurance.
Pre test, the air horns had packed up, replaced ok. MOT passed.
Post test pop up headlight pivot bolt came undone, just needed refitting.
imag0534.jpg and
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:47 pm

This is the official stance on MOT's fails..... https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/after-the-test This bit is very open to interpretation 'You might not be allowed to drive until you fix the problems.'

As far as i'm aware on cars not falling into the Classic category a fail means the car is un-road worthy (you could be prosecuted if your pulled over driving it) so even if you have MOT left on your previous Test a fail deems it invalid, there is a bit of a loop hole that the police will usually let you go if you drive straight from the MOT test center home or you have the car Booked in to the MOT test center and your on the way straight there.

Frankly i don't know where you would stand if you had an MOT done on a classic and it failed (probably same story as a non classic), i think you would have to prove it had been fixed to take the fault off the data base, but i could be wrong. The scary thing about Classic cars is not so much the 'Old banger's' but the DIY'r that thinks they know there stuff...... i'm not even an MOT tester and i've seen all sorts of stuff like brake pipes not secured in place and lots of very suspect welding! frankly thats the sort of thing that worries me (those cars could go unchecked).

What i do personally is have my cars Pre-MOT checked, it's not done through the MOT data base so any faults can be fixed at my leisure and they do tend to look at the car closer than an MOT tester would, plus it's good piece of mind and good proof the car is road worthy if need be.
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